England v India, 2nd Investec Test, Lord's, 1st day July 17, 2014

England squander golden opportunity

They wasted the new ball, they dropped chances and they reverted to the type of tactics that made little use of the sort of pitch of which England seamers should dream
87

Play 05:48
#politeenquiries: England's tactics to tailenders?

Statistics are, very often, misleading. Just as the average person has one breast and one testicle, so scorecards can provide an inaccurate picture of a day's play.

A glance at the scorecard from the first day of the second Investec Test might lead you to conclude that England had bowled pretty well. You might conclude that James Anderson had been tight, that Stuart Broad had been probing and that Liam Plunkett and Ben Stokes had lent disciplined support.

But the truth is England squandered a golden opportunity. They wasted the new ball, they dropped chances and they reverted to the type of tactics that made little use of the sort of pitch of which England seamers should dream. They bowled substantially worse than they had at Trent Bridge.

They had, at last, a green pitch offering carry. They had, at last, an opportunity to test an Indian batting line-up who have questions to answer against the moving ball. And they had a muggy morning on which to bowl. They could - should - have seized this series by the neck and bowled out India for under 200. As it is, India have already recorded their highest first innings total in a Test at Lord's and built a challenging platform.

England wasted their chance. With conditions at their most helpful, England's most experienced seamers bowled too short and too wide. Only one delivery in the first 10 overs would have hit the stumps and, though James Anderson's first five overs were maidens, not a single delivery in them would have bowled a batsman. The Indians were, on the whole, delighted to leave them and see the danger subside.

England's tactics were, at times, baffling. If the sight of Plunkett, on a green surface, banging in the ball with three men out for the hook was frustrating, the sight of Anderson, the man who has taken more Test wickets in England than anyone in history, the man who has the most Test wickets at Lord's, the man who had the second new ball, bowling to India's No. 10 with six - yes, six - men out on the boundary was utterly baffling.

In such helpful conditions - the conditions England have said they wanted for weeks - all the bowlers needed to do was pitch the ball up, bowl at the stumps and allow the swing and the tentative Indian batting to do the rest. But, perhaps through impatience, perhaps through a lack of confidence, perhaps unable to adapt to the conditions after a succession of slow, low surfaces, England bowled short and wide and failed to make the Indian batsmen play at enough deliveries.

There can be no excuses. England's attack leaders have more than 600 Test wickets and 150 Test caps between them. They have, in David Saker, an experienced bowling coach who must surely have suggested they target the stumps more frequently. They were brought up on pitches like this and have the experience to adapt. And, if weariness is a legitimate excuse in the final session, they might reflect that, had they bowled better in the first two hours, they might have had their feet up by tea.

The frustration was that, when they did pitch the ball up, the wickets soon followed. Virat Kohli was the victim of a fine delivery that forced a stroke but then left him to take the edge, while MS Dhoni pushed at a ball he could have left and Murali Vijay played across one. Indeed, when Stuart Binny was the unfortunate victim of an umpiring error, it reduced India to 145 for 7 and left England on the brink of a decent result despite their own modest performance.

Evidence is mounting that Matt Prior is no longer able to do what he could before. His misses are no longer aberrations. They are occurring too often and costing England too much

But they failed to take advantage. Plunkett was inexplicably instructed to bowl around the wicket and test the batsmen with short bowling - deliveries that were later dismissed as "a little bit easy" by Ajinkya Rahane - and Broad, despite the trouble he caused when he hit a good length, also banged in far too many deliveries. Rahane, leaving well but brutal on anything short, responded with a masterful century that may yet prove the defining contribution in this game.

"There is a bit of frustration," Stokes admitted afterwards. "The last session has turned things around a bit. We were extremely unlucky.

"We were pretty happy with our lengths, but our lines could have been better. We talked about it and corrected it. And we had them 140 for 7. So, on the positive side, we keep knocking over their top order."

If such words seem somewhat delusional, the fault was not all England's bowlers. They also suffered, once again, from poor support from their wicketkeeper, Matt Prior, who put down two chances and conceded his 50th bye of the Test summer in the evening session. Such a number includes, inevitably, some deliveries speared down the leg side which no keeper could prevent, but that by no means accounts for all of them.

Prior has enjoyed an illustrious career. He was a key part of the team that rose to No. 1 in the Test rankings and nobody doubts his commitment to the cause. To see him struggling, through no lack of good intentions or hard work, to maintain the standards he once set brings no pleasure.

But cricket can be brutal. And the evidence is mounting that he is no longer able to do what he could before. His misses are no longer aberrations. They are occurring too often and costing England too much. If Jos Buttler is not ready for Test cricket - and it would be asking a lot of a man who has been a first choice wicketkeeper at his county for less than four months - England may well have to turn to James Foster or Chris Read as an interim.

The first chance Prior missed here - Murali Vijay before he had scored - was familiar: it was low and it was to his right. It was, by a generous assessment, the fifth such chance he has failed to take this summer (there have been two other chances which have been closer to his body), with the suspicion mounting that his creaking frame is unable to move quickly enough to low chances to sustain a career at this level.

It might seem that neither chance - the second one a straightforward outside edge offered by Kohli in Moeen Ali's first over - cost England. But in conditions that eased, reprieving Vijay and Kohli allowed Rahane and the lower order to come in against tiring bowlers and a softer ball.

England may also have squandered the best time to bat. By the close of play, a few balls appeared to be keeping low and, if the sun continues to bake this pitch, uneven bounce may become a serious impediment. If they find themselves chasing a challenging fourth innings target, they will only have themselves to blame.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Firoz_Raja on July 18, 2014, 0:37 GMT

    Indeed England didn't capitalise on the conditions after winning the toss. In the first session, apart from James Anderson, no other bowler really pitched the ball up to the batsmen to get some purchase of the track. Bowling was good in second session compared to the first, but again post tea, they didn't tighten up things to wind up the tail. Too much from Ali allowed Rahane and Kumar to score runs and get India to some respectable total. Every single run scored or given away on a green top would matter to both the team as the batting conditions aren't easy and subtle.

  • on July 18, 2014, 20:33 GMT

    Englands Team rebuilding is taking its own sweet time, also they dont have ready replacements. Who after Cook as Captain? , Who after Prior (In tests)?, they dont have answers and i think thats the reason they are sticlking with them .Broad and Anderson are the only two Match winners for them in current 11, and if anyone of them gets injured ...then it will be Indias Series to Lose.

  • cricdick on July 18, 2014, 14:29 GMT

    Well, I would give some credit to Indians too for batting better. Everybody plays well more or less.

  • AndrewsPraveen on July 18, 2014, 12:31 GMT

    india did use the poor bowling performance by the so called experience bowling attack and survived the new ball on a greenish wicket. credits to Vijay,Pujara for taking the shine off and Rahane for an impressive ton which make me more happier after seen him missed few chances in both SA and NZ again India's tail did a fine job but still there can be few changes i dont think Jadeja is a good test batsman maybe he can be tight in his bowling but with no rohit we need a better all rounder binny showed glimpses of his batting in trent bridge but his bowling will be helpful as dhoni can rest his strike bowlers

  • on July 18, 2014, 12:04 GMT

    Yes, Ajinkya Rahane has the potential to be the best Test batsman for India. He is a level headed chap and not irritatingly boisterous and feisty like Viraat kohli.

  • JaranNirsi on July 18, 2014, 11:59 GMT

    Cookie fails again. Don't know whether India are trying to have Anderson out of the series, but they will certainly try their best to have Cook in it for all the five.

  • Henry_Mancini on July 18, 2014, 9:59 GMT

    Both sides have a proven capacity for squandering such opportunities. This is almost a repeat of the last match, a better pitch not withstanding, where India held a decisive advantage in the first innings, only to squander it to Root and Anderson. Furthermore, a pathetic batting collapse in the second innings almost handed England the match. The last time it was the pitch - too flat. What will be the excuse this time if English batsmen pile on some runs? Perhaps Dhoni will say the pitch was too lively for Binny but not sufficiently deteriorated for Ashwin? If captains of international sporting teams claim their players can only perform in 'goldilocks' conditions, where every little thing is 'just right', then to what manner of ineptitude are they actually confessing?

  • Henry_Mancini on July 18, 2014, 9:33 GMT

    This is a golden opportunity for Stuart Binny to confirm or deny the faith that has been placed in him. Unlike Jadeja, I suspect that Binny will actually be expected to perform immediately, as opposed to being given several matches to demonstrate his worth. I doubt he will be forgiven too many loose balls or shots. Apparently India already have a template for a medium pace all rounder in Buveneshwar Kumar. It is therefore strange that his capabilities are only now being recognised - it is as if nobody in the Indian camp, from management down, was aware that the young man could hold a bat! Or they were aware, but decided to persist with an unproven debutant nonetheless. A potential downside is that Binny might not be rigorously tested. Unless Cook, Bell or whoever else, finds form and provides stern opposition, a false sense of security might arise. As with Dhawan, one sterling innings early in his career has translated into automatic inclusion. The results are there for all to see...

  • on July 18, 2014, 9:31 GMT

    Where do we start? Once again, England have the opposition in trouble, then let them off the hook (happened a lot in the Ashes, both in England and Australia, and has continued). 145-7 then 145 for the next 3 (and counting). How many more times till they realise that Ranatunga (short and wide) bowling doesn't work to tailenders or anyone else? India were put in 3 days after the end of the TB test, where England were in the field for the last day and a half (so bowlers must be tired, but you assume Cook knows this). Stokes (who for me was the best bowler) is talking rubbish about the lengths, and I hope he doesn't believe it either.

    If India bowl straight and full they have a pretty good chance of winning this test on the sort of pitch England have been crying out for. And once again they have only themselves to blame.

  • on July 18, 2014, 9:30 GMT

    They have, in David Saker, an experienced bowling coach who must surely have suggested they target the stumps more frequently. -----------------------------------------------------------------

    I'm not entirely sure thats true. As the bowling coach he is as responsible for the tactics as cook and the senior bowlers. short pitched boewling and an inability to bowl to the tail is not a recent issue. it has becom a habit which is costing us matches and series.

  • Firoz_Raja on July 18, 2014, 0:37 GMT

    Indeed England didn't capitalise on the conditions after winning the toss. In the first session, apart from James Anderson, no other bowler really pitched the ball up to the batsmen to get some purchase of the track. Bowling was good in second session compared to the first, but again post tea, they didn't tighten up things to wind up the tail. Too much from Ali allowed Rahane and Kumar to score runs and get India to some respectable total. Every single run scored or given away on a green top would matter to both the team as the batting conditions aren't easy and subtle.

  • on July 18, 2014, 20:33 GMT

    Englands Team rebuilding is taking its own sweet time, also they dont have ready replacements. Who after Cook as Captain? , Who after Prior (In tests)?, they dont have answers and i think thats the reason they are sticlking with them .Broad and Anderson are the only two Match winners for them in current 11, and if anyone of them gets injured ...then it will be Indias Series to Lose.

  • cricdick on July 18, 2014, 14:29 GMT

    Well, I would give some credit to Indians too for batting better. Everybody plays well more or less.

  • AndrewsPraveen on July 18, 2014, 12:31 GMT

    india did use the poor bowling performance by the so called experience bowling attack and survived the new ball on a greenish wicket. credits to Vijay,Pujara for taking the shine off and Rahane for an impressive ton which make me more happier after seen him missed few chances in both SA and NZ again India's tail did a fine job but still there can be few changes i dont think Jadeja is a good test batsman maybe he can be tight in his bowling but with no rohit we need a better all rounder binny showed glimpses of his batting in trent bridge but his bowling will be helpful as dhoni can rest his strike bowlers

  • on July 18, 2014, 12:04 GMT

    Yes, Ajinkya Rahane has the potential to be the best Test batsman for India. He is a level headed chap and not irritatingly boisterous and feisty like Viraat kohli.

  • JaranNirsi on July 18, 2014, 11:59 GMT

    Cookie fails again. Don't know whether India are trying to have Anderson out of the series, but they will certainly try their best to have Cook in it for all the five.

  • Henry_Mancini on July 18, 2014, 9:59 GMT

    Both sides have a proven capacity for squandering such opportunities. This is almost a repeat of the last match, a better pitch not withstanding, where India held a decisive advantage in the first innings, only to squander it to Root and Anderson. Furthermore, a pathetic batting collapse in the second innings almost handed England the match. The last time it was the pitch - too flat. What will be the excuse this time if English batsmen pile on some runs? Perhaps Dhoni will say the pitch was too lively for Binny but not sufficiently deteriorated for Ashwin? If captains of international sporting teams claim their players can only perform in 'goldilocks' conditions, where every little thing is 'just right', then to what manner of ineptitude are they actually confessing?

  • Henry_Mancini on July 18, 2014, 9:33 GMT

    This is a golden opportunity for Stuart Binny to confirm or deny the faith that has been placed in him. Unlike Jadeja, I suspect that Binny will actually be expected to perform immediately, as opposed to being given several matches to demonstrate his worth. I doubt he will be forgiven too many loose balls or shots. Apparently India already have a template for a medium pace all rounder in Buveneshwar Kumar. It is therefore strange that his capabilities are only now being recognised - it is as if nobody in the Indian camp, from management down, was aware that the young man could hold a bat! Or they were aware, but decided to persist with an unproven debutant nonetheless. A potential downside is that Binny might not be rigorously tested. Unless Cook, Bell or whoever else, finds form and provides stern opposition, a false sense of security might arise. As with Dhawan, one sterling innings early in his career has translated into automatic inclusion. The results are there for all to see...

  • on July 18, 2014, 9:31 GMT

    Where do we start? Once again, England have the opposition in trouble, then let them off the hook (happened a lot in the Ashes, both in England and Australia, and has continued). 145-7 then 145 for the next 3 (and counting). How many more times till they realise that Ranatunga (short and wide) bowling doesn't work to tailenders or anyone else? India were put in 3 days after the end of the TB test, where England were in the field for the last day and a half (so bowlers must be tired, but you assume Cook knows this). Stokes (who for me was the best bowler) is talking rubbish about the lengths, and I hope he doesn't believe it either.

    If India bowl straight and full they have a pretty good chance of winning this test on the sort of pitch England have been crying out for. And once again they have only themselves to blame.

  • on July 18, 2014, 9:30 GMT

    They have, in David Saker, an experienced bowling coach who must surely have suggested they target the stumps more frequently. -----------------------------------------------------------------

    I'm not entirely sure thats true. As the bowling coach he is as responsible for the tactics as cook and the senior bowlers. short pitched boewling and an inability to bowl to the tail is not a recent issue. it has becom a habit which is costing us matches and series.

  • on July 18, 2014, 9:30 GMT

    they squander the chance and now they will lose the match...ishant and shami shud try to touch 300 and then india will have physcological advantage....pitch has grass it will be helpful for fast bowler atleast till the 3rd day...

  • on July 18, 2014, 9:17 GMT

    Seems to be a common thing with the bowling line up led by Anderson and Broad. They start well, but fade away, probably due to fatigue and poor discipline to finish the tail. Mind you Kumar and Shami look alot better than their average suggests. But going back to 2012 where Tino Best, then last year with Ashton Agar, both number 11s nearly got centuries. Can't help feeling that this wouldn't happen to previous England combos such as Willis/Botham, Gough/Caddick or Flintoff/Jones. Bowling a probing length outside off-stump or the good old fashioned yorker seems to be absent with this current crop against 9,10,11.

  • niazbhi on July 18, 2014, 9:01 GMT

    England side should be 1] Robson 2]Cook 3]Ballance 4]Bell 5] Root 6] Woakes 7] Stokes 8] WK (Foster) 9] Broad 10]Anderson 11] Kerrigan. Stokes is England's 3rd seamer. Ideally 4th seamer should be a 90 mph bowler. As Stokes is doing better than Plunket.. England might try Woakes who can swing the ball. He brings much better batting. So that opens up a place for an extra bowler in place of Ali. If Kerrigan is the best spinner county cricket has England should give him another chance. Similarly india can play Ashwin in place of Jadeja.

  • ladycricfan on July 18, 2014, 8:56 GMT

    The theory that drainage system is responsible for the dry pitches is thrown out of the window. If I water my lawn, the grass go green. Any way the Lords pitch made exciting viewing. Hope the pitch assists Indian bowlers as well.

  • Henry_Mancini on July 18, 2014, 8:52 GMT

    I wish to correct a point made in my previous post - Unlike Australia, England and India managements have not taken sufficient action to address a sustained run of poor performances. I don't consider sacking KP or appointing Moores as 'sufficient remedial action'. The less said about Indian coaching, captaining and team selections the better...

  • Henry_Mancini on July 18, 2014, 8:24 GMT

    @ Arun Bose. Dear Sir, I assure you, as an Indian living in Australia, I am thoroughly embarrassed already! I have been for years, and the condition is exacerbated each time India embark on an overseas test tour!! I agree that this team is perhaps a little more feisty than previous ones, and as for the 4-0 drubbing, yes I do remember it. It was a 'classic' simply because it was unprecedented. My point is that Australia were scorched by that drubbing, and upper management eventually took appropriate action. Heads rolled and players were put on notice, "perform now or we will find people who will". What I lament is that India have received many more whitewashes and drubbings than they have dispensed. Their losing streak away from home is utterly shameful. Yet, unlike Australia and England, sufficient remedial action has never been taken. And btw, I, like you, actually do wish India win this match and series!! I just believe with this captain and excess dead weight in the team, they wont.

  • BradmanBestEver on July 18, 2014, 8:23 GMT

    Yet another sub-par performance by the English - a cricket team whose management is in denial.

    With immediate effect: Cook should be sacked as captain, Prior and Anderson should be dropped for good and they should play a specialist spinner.

  • IndiaNumeroUno on July 18, 2014, 8:12 GMT

    My prediction for this test... as usual, rain is going to come in and save England.

  • Vaughanographic on July 18, 2014, 7:59 GMT

    I'd definitely go with Read or Foster. And while they are about it, they can captain the side and give Cook a respite from his poor form of late!

  • Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on July 18, 2014, 7:55 GMT

    14 catches Prior has dropped in recent times. Is that good enough for test cricket?

  • on July 18, 2014, 7:42 GMT

    When the batsmen continually fail and go many innings without reaching 400 then the batting coach gets stick. Gooch paid the price for this after the winter Ashes series. Yet no-one seems to blame David Saker the bowling coach when his attack cannot finish teams off.

    Either the players are too stubborn or stupid to follow team plans or the bowling coach is at fault. I read somewhere earlier this week - it could have been on here - that Simon Jones talks sensibly about fast bowling and even Boycott sat and listened whch isn't like him at all. Time for a change.

  • on July 18, 2014, 7:42 GMT

    @Henry_Marcini- Let's just wait till the India's tour of Australia begin..Why are you prejudicing so early? You might get embarrased too.. These Indian players are not submissive like some Aussie young players when they toured India last time..Remember 4-0? The classic drubbing? Hold your horses for now..

  • CodandChips on July 18, 2014, 7:37 GMT

    (contiued)

    From this list of keeping options, I don't care too much who they go with, as long as it's not Prior. Ideally I'd like his replacement to be a good gloveman. This rules out Butter or Bairstow, who I'd also leave alone because their games need developing in county cricket, especially Bairstow who was going backwards in international cricket.

    If England went with Foster or Read, I wouldn't mind because of them being potential captaincy options, despite not being in the side. Both are experienced and good keepers and pretty reliable batsmen. Of the 2 I prefer Foster.

    I do like Bates though. He's young and a terrific gloveman. I know I'm biased but he is a true joy to watch. He would certainly benefit the England side. You need 20 wickets to win a test match, and Bates would help you get them.

    Though my ideal choice is Davies. But as I said before he's given up the gloves, which is sad.

  • iamgroot on July 18, 2014, 7:30 GMT

    Eng will ruin about this squandered opportunity to bowl out india below 150. Wicket was very tough and Indian batsmen had to fight for each run. There was a time when even taking a single looked extremely tough. Well that is all history now. India is 290/9. Pujara missed straight ball. Kohli and Dhoni fished around off stump dont know why. Binny was unlucky to be given out. Jaddu got out to a good ball it was hitting stumps. But Rahane man, this guy is awesome. I am baffled how Indian fans can think Rohit can be selected over this guy. This guy has been excellent in SA with fighting 96 and here he made 103. His place in Indian team should NEVER be questioned. Rohit sharma in contast is no match. He is an easy wicket for opposition. He will just gift his wicket away by playing away from body. Indian team is better off without Rohit sharma. There is balance and EVERY single batsmen are trying to apply themselves unlike Rohit who has himself to blame. India 290/9 should cross 300 atleast.

  • KeithMillersHair on July 18, 2014, 7:26 GMT

    Can I second what @HenryPorter said. Absolutely spot on. For a game so obsessed with statistics we don't keep track of some of things that matter most. It is remarkable. Cricinfo, how do we make this happen - 'We desperately need a dropped-catch statistic in cricket - something akin to the official fielding-error stat in baseball. Text-mineable from Cricinfo commentaries post ~2000? For wicketkeepers it's perhaps the only measure that really matters.'

  • CodandChips on July 18, 2014, 7:22 GMT

    Replacement options for Prior.

    Had Davies not given up the gloves he'd be ideal as a fantastic gloveman and excellent batsman. But he no longer keeps unfortunately so we must look elsewhere.

    Foster or Read? Both are classy keepers and are better batsmen than they are given credit for. Neither has age on their side though. Both could be potential captaincy options, though neither has played in this team so It'd be tricky.

    Other excellent glovemen in county cricket are Bates and Rouse. Rouse can bat a bit. Bates is a terrific keeper. The best. Here lacks batting ability but surely the glovework is more important. Also most of our bowlers can bat so he shouldn't be needed to bat much.

    Buttler? Not ready with gloves though improved with bat? Called up last test. Can't be worse with gloves than Prior currently.

    Bairstow? Poor keeper in international cricket and poor record as a batsman bar a couple of innings. But apparently he has improved and who can forget 95 vs South Africa

  • on July 18, 2014, 7:21 GMT

    300 seems to be a par score on this track. Shami-Ishant would do well to extend the score to around 325.

  • Pavinasen on July 18, 2014, 7:20 GMT

    siri12345 , I think you are right , the Indians will be putting pressure on the English batting. Indians will win this one

  • willsrustynuts on July 18, 2014, 7:20 GMT

    The pitch was so green it was embarrassing that England didn't get them out for less than 200. Thankfully India are about as hapless as England so the game still promises to be close.

    This series should see the end of a couple of English international careers. If the opposition don't weed them out, this schedule will.

  • CodandChips on July 18, 2014, 7:16 GMT

    It's all well and good moaning about a pitch that provides nothing. But it means when you get a pitch like this you are at a hiding to nothing. On that pitch England should have bowled out India for a lot less. India fought well and Rahane was brilliant, but England should have bowled them out.

    As has happened a lot in recent times England couldn't finish off the tail. Personally I think it's down to poor tactics. England and Alastair Cook really need to rethink. When Shami and Sharma were batting for example they treated Shami as a proper batsman and didn't try to get him out. Cook the captain may be finished. It depends how Cook the batsman does.

    Prior should be finished. After being dropped he was rushed back in the side despite having played much county cricket since. And since his return to the side his batting has been ok and his keeping poor. Wicket keepers have to be able to catch. It's more important than being able to bat.

    At least Moeen Ali bowled well.

  • Henry_Mancini on July 18, 2014, 7:11 GMT

    As a follow up to my previous post, I cannot help but notice a distinct difference in the management of English and Indian cricket when compared to that of Australian cricket. Perhaps I am naive, but I believe it might have something to do with some basic, possibly old fashioned values. The desire for excellence, rigorous training, plain old hard work, etc... Robust selection policies might also play a part here. A similar ethos has been demonstrated also by South Africa in the recent past. Australia were happy to replace their coach immediately before an Ashes series. Team discord and underperfomances were considered wholly intolerable, face saving press conferences were not an option, and a series loss was considered acceptable in the context of the bigger picture on a longer time scale. The results have spoken for themselves. Its early days yet, but I fear for this Indian team come the Australian summer. With Fletcher coaching and Dhoni as captian, they surely have no hope.

  • on July 18, 2014, 7:05 GMT

    @crick_sucks- Indian batsmen are doing well, It's just that not every batsmen will score big in every match, And It's a team game so runs from any batsman eventually goes into team's total irrespective of which batsman scored those run.. Indian bowlers almost bowled Englamd at TB..The so called batting paradise.. Don't underestimate these bowlers bcz English batting isn't scary enough.. If they squandered on a batting paradise, Imagine what they gonna do on this green wicket.. Be realistic..

  • fairfan70 on July 18, 2014, 6:59 GMT

    Cook is indeed an ordinary captain. His speech is boring and body language is hardly inspirational. But is a good batsman (though in the recent past he has been brought down to earth by bowlers around the world). In contrast, Dhoni has always been inspirational, albeit with deteriorating batting skills by the day. With his conservative/rigid leadership in test matches and ordinary batting he has less than a year of test cricket left in him.

  • on July 18, 2014, 6:54 GMT

    Good article. From an Indian perspective, it was heartening to see Rahane raising to the situation. Dhoni and Jadeja squandered an excellent effort by Vijay and Pujara. Even Dravid predicted (infact wished ) somehow India make 250. So to surpass that and make 300 is very good effort. Everything went Englands way. The conditions started as unplayable and has eased out to nothing by end of day. No one knows what the pitch is going to do. Will it ease out completely to give England a sizeable lead? One main area everyone overlooked was the amount of turn Root and Swann got in the last years game on Day 3 and 4. Dhoni should get someone to bowl some offies if it truns. All in all exciting teast match. But from an English perspective, i would be happier that the wicket eased out instead of staying the same way. Maybe the ploy was to make India play the whole day so that they can bat on better conditions :). Having said all this, atleast the slope should encourage the bowlers in Lords.

  • on July 18, 2014, 6:45 GMT

    @milepost- A great sensible comment from you, mate..Hats off dude/girl! I don't know why ppl still thinks this bowling attack is mediocre even when they almost bowled England out on a pitch which was flatter than flattest of all wicket in the world..The world famous "Colombo track".. Imagine what they would do on this pitch that is so green that I couldn't recognise the pitch and ground when I first saw it on TV..550 is a distant dream..

  • crick_sucks on July 18, 2014, 6:27 GMT

    what are the indian batsman doing? Well, the indian bowlers even though they are not bowling well are at least batting well, what are the batsman doing? esp. dhawan

  • on July 18, 2014, 6:26 GMT

    @siri12345- Indian bowlers almost bowled England out in the first test at TB..Remember before tea they were 202/7? Only after Broad, Root and Anderson stuck it out on that docile pitch, England were able to save face by just drawing the test.. Don't underestimate these bowlers and I will again say the pitch hasn't eased out yet, English bowlers made it look like it has eased out..The ball was still flying past Prior's gloves even in the third session.. English bowlers bowled beautifully after lunch but pathetically after tea.. In this pitch if you pitch the ball up, You will get wickets even on third day..

  • Kruns on July 18, 2014, 6:17 GMT

    Very Good score India on this wicket 290/9 on a Green Top on Day one is accepted , India would have taken this score even before the toss..... Rahane Played exceptionally but very tru gesture from him giving credit the likes of Pujara , Vijay i agree that the score doesnt show that but they played very well.

    @siri12345 :- I cant say that India will win but definately England is not on driver seat This score is more than PAR on this wicket , Even england would have not played on such wickets which they have currently prepared for India but i some how feel that will back fire on them. I am confident in India bowling good to top order but the only problem i see is if India will be able to Clean up the Long Bating line up of Eng...

  • milepost on July 18, 2014, 6:14 GMT

    I've seen people carrying on about England 'should bat to 550 and declare' blah blah blah. Don't forget this unrated bowling attack tore through England on the flattest pitch ever played on, absolutely tore through them. India are in prime position to take advantage out of a badly out of form batting lineup. There might have been a few scores on flat pitches but we all know Rnglabd can't handle bounce or a swinging/seaming ball.

  • IndiaNumeroUno on July 18, 2014, 6:11 GMT

    Truth is - Rahane was too good for the English bowlers who tried every trick in the book and despite a green turf were unable to get him out. Simples.

  • on July 18, 2014, 5:58 GMT

    Yeah If Indians bat well u say opposition bowled badly but they don't u simply say they r not good enough, how many indian batsmen need to prove that sachin,dravid,ganguly,laxman now kohli,rahane , its always indian bowling let us down in last 2 series in NZ,SAF batsman set excellent platform to win test but our skill's were not enough to get a win

  • siri12345 on July 18, 2014, 5:44 GMT

    @ias 2009 eng may have squandered a grt position from being 145 for 7 to 290 for 9 but still they r in drivers seat and by a mile.my prediction is they will still be gettinga minimum of 100 runs lead and put pressure on india in 2nd innings

  • siri12345 on July 18, 2014, 5:41 GMT

    @arun bose the thing is the pitch indeed got flat out and no matter the pitch is flat or green we all know the quality of indian bowlers.so my prediction is eng will have to bat just once in this test .cricinfo plz publish.

  • on July 18, 2014, 5:08 GMT

    On a green top India 145/7 is not unreasonable. Then getting to 290/9 (exactly double) clearly is. I feel that the Indian bowlers would have done better.

  • on July 18, 2014, 4:39 GMT

    Its not the best score we shoud have batted well when bhui/shami can bat why cant our top order show the same resistance...same old story for us unless some great determination for both batsman and bowlers show...

  • shrastogi on July 18, 2014, 4:32 GMT

    Well analysed. Now the onus is on Indian bowlers to bowl in good areas and make English batsmen play more than what English bowlers did to Indian batsmen.

  • on July 18, 2014, 4:15 GMT

    England will lose this test by allowing India to score more than 200.High time this aged wicketkeeper is dropped and a new inducted in to the England side.Like Australia these English selectors do not go for young and talented players.Look at Indian team majority are below 26 years.One must know how to bowl on a green top.Now Cook and his army will struggle to make 250 on this wicket.A real chance was misused by the bowlers.

  • on July 18, 2014, 3:45 GMT

    @David_Boon What do you mean by this Indian team??? The current Indian team played 5 tests overseas, lost 2 and drawn 3. Very close to win 3 tests in those but couldn't finish it off. This team is improving at a rapid pace and it will be no wonder if they start winning overseas test matches sooner rather than later. Will you accept that Australian team that toured India and won in SA were same??? Its different teams same as that of Indian team that lost 8-0 overseas. And this England team is just 3 tests old with lot of inexperienced players and it will be sometime before they will be consistent. Cricinfo please publish.

  • Sanj747 on July 18, 2014, 2:40 GMT

    Good article. A team that ilaks a leader which is so visible. No spiiner of note and bowlers despite experience needing a lt of direction. The wicket keepper needs to go. Pretty much a team with no clue.

  • Sexysteven on July 18, 2014, 2:40 GMT

    England are lucky the pitch is green the way the bowled and dropped catches they could have been chasing Abig totally very lucky kohli didn't take advantage of that drop so England are well in this match but cooks crap captaincy and priors poor keeping are giving India chances to get way ahead but they are so lucky India haven't managed to do that and if they bat well England will be ahead and it won't be due to there bowlers and fielders and cooks rubbish captaincy England should win this test but they still have issues with there makeup of there team priors keeping and cooks captaincy are the main issues for me

  • Patchmaster on July 18, 2014, 2:31 GMT

    Prior's time is up. Butler to the rescue please. They say his keeping isn't the finished article - but it's a whole heap better than Priors - as is his batting !

  • IAS2009 on July 18, 2014, 2:17 GMT

    the pattern of England Squandering position of strength to loose control of the game is continuing since Australia, poor captaincy, if you can't get wicket dry the runs, tailender batsman will not have patience to bogged down, they attack and Cook spread field and chance to getting wickets is gone, from 170 odd for 7 to 295 odd is bad, India should be in driving seat, England has to bat last on this pitch.

  • on July 18, 2014, 1:47 GMT

    Pitch didn't ease out, English bowlers made it look like it has eased out and specially Cook by setting bizzare fields to tail-enders.. Bowling leg stump line won't get u wickets on any surface and bowling short on a pitch like this is highly unacceptable.. Ben Stokes's comment are very unsporting and delusional..How could you be unlucky when you bowl rubbish on a helping pitch? He's basically saying that Rahane scored a lord's century because England were "unlucky"..

  • on July 18, 2014, 1:42 GMT

    Ben stokes is highly delusional when he said they were extremely unlucky in the third session..You weren't unlucky, You bowled wrong lines and lengths.. What an unsportimg guy is he, Not giving any credit to Rahame for his scintillating century on a pitch that he usually never bat on in home..

  • on July 18, 2014, 1:01 GMT

    England griped and lose .know match is open if Indian bwler able to contain there line and leanth .they can hold in match.

  • on July 18, 2014, 0:52 GMT

    I dont agree with dravid in the commentary team that 290 for 9 is a good score for the team. I think he meant a good effort given what was expected out of india in seaming conditions. The pitch will ease today become a batting beauty and make it harder for india to contain england

  • David_Boon on July 18, 2014, 0:50 GMT

    Great article. What a hilarious situation England currently find themselves in. The most obvious problem - at least, obvious to the entire world save for the geniuses at the ECB - is Cook's captaincy. 5 men on the boundary to a number 10? Shouldn't happen unless he's on 100*. 5 men on the boundary when you have just taken the new ball? Idiotic. Men on the hook on a green pitch to batsmen who would prefer not to hook anyway? Thoughtless. Is Cook coming up with these plans by himself, or at the famously bloated coaching staff complicit as wel? What must his teammates think? If England can't beat this Indian side, one of the worst travelling sides in history by this point (they have gone 17 games without a win (2011 v WI), and lost by an innings or 200+ runs 7 times in that span), there is absolutely no hope for them. Luckily for Cook they won't play another Test until May 2015 against New Zealand, as even losing here to India you get the feeling the ECB will stick to their guns

  • on July 18, 2014, 0:44 GMT

    at one time loseing the grip on the. match but as we know cricket is a funny game . you will see Indian bowlers and theres line leanth . how they can take advantage .and gripe the match .

  • on July 18, 2014, 0:38 GMT

    I see the England team walks away with easy win here. India did not capitalize with good first hour of batting on a difficult pitch. Pitch is definitely getting better in favor of batsmen. With Indian bowling, I see the England's score no less than 500 (if they don't make the same mistakes that they did in first test). India should struggle to escape innings defeat - is my prediction.

  • on July 18, 2014, 0:29 GMT

    This is getting ridculous. Someone needs to step up and put Alistair Cook out of his misery. He clearly can't cut it as captain. A draw on a flat pitch was no cause for celebration, not when without 81 from the no.11 we might have ended up batting to save the game on the last day. He's a great, great batmen, but an utter incompetant as captain, and it's starting to get wearying now.

  • creekeetman on July 18, 2014, 0:25 GMT

    stokes needs to understand that luck has nothing to do with dropped catches, poor bowing and horrible captaincy.

  • on July 18, 2014, 0:13 GMT

    I believe bowlers on a world standard bowl to get batsmen out. Tailenders are not batsmen and having a set plan to trap them is not going to work.It may not be the bowler, but also the captain and coach at fault - as the game plan, the field settings may not suit the shot play and lack of skill (apologies to bowlers- I was a bowler at age group club levels myself and freely admit my batting game was innovative at best). Overall stats suggest a player ranked 9-11 will score a 50 or more (325 players/2130 tests) 15% of test matches played. During the last calendar year this has increased to 30% (12 players/39 tests).

  • JustIPL on July 17, 2014, 23:51 GMT

    Everyone is surprised why these professional bowlers are not able to bowl in line as when they did bails were found flying around. May be a preset agenda to keep tests going for five days at every cost specially when India are involved.

  • on July 17, 2014, 23:41 GMT

    i have never understood the ploy to bowl regularly banging in the ball. 1 or 2 in an over to keep the batsmen guessing or to intimidate them whn they try to to the pitch of the ball is understandable. the short ball is most effective whn it is used as surprise rather thn bowling 4-5 in an over hoping the batsmen will try and take it on.

  • satchander on July 17, 2014, 23:26 GMT

    "If they find themselves chasing a challenging fourth innings target, they will only have themselves to blame" - I don't think that is going to happen. Let us not forget Indian bowling attack is incapable of taking 20 wickets. We have Jadeja who is going to absolutely ineffective on this pitch. Ishant as we know is hopeless. Binny can swing but unfortunately the wicket has eased out now so hardly expect him to trouble eng batsmen. That leaves Shami and Bhuvi - india's best bowlers who will try their best but guess the workload will be just too much for them. All in all, I still fancy England beating India quite easily.

  • jmcilhinney on July 17, 2014, 23:17 GMT

    I'm sure I'm not the only one who wonders exactly what David Saker is saying to the England bowlers. If he is responsible for their bowling short and wide then he should be sacked immediately. If he's telling them to pitch it up on the stumps then he must be pulling his hair out to see what they're doing and must want to quit immediately. It really does beggar belief, the England tactics with the ball.

    Matt Prior may look to Brad Haddin for inspiration. Haddin lost his spot in the Australia team after poor displays with both gloves and bat but he returned and, after Mitchell Johnson, was probably the main reason they beat England 5-0 last Ashes. Just because it's possible though, doesn't mean that Prior will turn it around. It's hard to fathom how he has gone from one of the best international keepers to one of the worst so quickly and he's been almost a non-entity with the bat for a while too. If he doesn't improve then he should not be allowed to play out this series.

  • jackiethepen on July 17, 2014, 23:14 GMT

    I thought Jimmy looked tired at the start of the day. Not only the stress of the level 3 accusation but also just the three days between Tests. He may have got into rhythm later on but first up he looked stiff and down on energy. Back to back Tests are difficult for all players and this is going to be a Series of them.

  • Nutcutlet on July 17, 2014, 23:08 GMT

    Spot on, George! The conditions would have had the average county opening bowler licking his lips. England should have been in green heaven - but My! were they awry! All they had to do was to force the batsmen to play at the moving ball & with a packed slip cordon a short leg to pick up bat/pads, besides a w/keeper on his game & it would have been 180, all gone. Cook just didn't go for the jugular and its a moot point whether he was as culpable or more culpable than his four quicks. He gets rattled when a couple of fours are struck and plugs the gap following a shot that has got to the boundary. That is reactive captaincy, handing the initiative to the oppostion. He just hasn't got the hang of it at all; there is no consistent plan that can be deciphered. And poor body language was again in evidence. Prior is indeed a concern. He is no better than an average county keeper these days. There are many better. The selectors need to grasp this nettle and go for the best: Read or Foster.

  • PACERONE on July 17, 2014, 22:54 GMT

    Finally someone writing the truth.For too long these bowlers have been getting wickets with poor deliveries.Batsmen dragging wide balls onto their stumps or edging.India needs a Sehwag type who will slash these wide balls to the boundary.

  • CricketChat on July 17, 2014, 22:53 GMT

    Eng let Ind off the hook here. Ind looked like getting out below 200 at one stage. I expected Eng to attack Kumar lot more than they did. With the wkt easing off, I expect Eng to rake up a 1st innings total in excess of 500. Golden opportunity for Cook to get back into form.

  • on July 17, 2014, 22:12 GMT

    I actually think the Indian bowlers might out-bowl England's because they don't have the pace and will pitch it up more. If so it's Hedingley all over again

  • on July 17, 2014, 22:09 GMT

    Simple drop matt prior and get josh bulter in. Better keeping and Gilchrist like batting. It is a no brainer. Matt prior was lucky in the SL series to get the couple of scores he got. He had lost it big time after the Ashes thrashing down under. For cook to say Josh us not ready for test cricket is a joke. Josh would for sure will score more than Cook himself. Cricket is all about being in form. Your past track record will not win matches for you. It is about who can do the job on the day.

  • whoster on July 17, 2014, 21:43 GMT

    This is a fragile England side, and there are many reasons for that; a team haunted by an inexcusable Ashes whitewash, a captain bereft of ideas and runs, and a wicket keeper who clearly isn't fit enough to be selected. The final reason is possibly the most damaging of all; what does it do to a bowler's confidence when, even when he finds the edge, that it's a lottery if the chance is taken? The wicket keeper is the fulcrum of any cricket side, and if he's struggling, then it's passed-on to the bowlers. Having said that, when a bowler like Plunkett is selected with the sole reason of being the enforcer, is it any wonder that he struggles to pitch the ball up when conditions dictate that he should do so?

    Rahane's century was magnificent, and nothing should detract from that. Even so, it was another poor team effort from England, and if Cook doesn't lead by example with the bat in this Test (which I sorely hope he does), he'll have to be dropped. This simply isn't good enough.

  • on July 17, 2014, 21:43 GMT

    Last year in the Ashes series when England won the toss at Lord's and batted first, they ended Day one on 289 for 7, aided by a Bell century. Looked like they were in a reasonably good position but things turned really bad for Australia on Day two. England took a huge first innings lead after Australia collapsed for 128, Joe Root scored 180 for England in their second innings and England thrashed Australia by a huge margin. We could very well see England at the receiving end in this match if we go by how it transpired in the Ashes Test last year.

  • kc69 on July 17, 2014, 21:36 GMT

    Isnt this wonderful a lush green pitch, overcast conditions ideally suited for English fast bowlers.Young Indian players fight it out and people still say its English players fault..grow up guys , learn to give credit where it has to be.

  • on July 17, 2014, 21:21 GMT

    Prior may be dropping many catches he used to get, but at the moment he is still out best. Buttler can be better but he isn't ready for tests yet and with Kieswetter out as well only Bairstow and he isn't the best behind wicket either more of an occasional wicket these days

  • indianzen on July 17, 2014, 21:18 GMT

    Pitch is green, don't write off Indian bowlers. I will not be surprised if Ishant or Buvi or each get a five-for

  • knobbler on July 17, 2014, 21:15 GMT

    Couldn't agree more with this artical. While cooks captaincy and lack of runs remains a huge talking point, it's the bowling tactics that worry me. Surely these guys know where to pitch the ball don't they? As a former bowler it's becoming almost impossible to watch England bowl at the moment.....incredibly frustrating. One would assume Mr. Saker is telling them to pitch it up on off stump (let's hope he is anyway.) Sorry for going on but I'm so passionate about this. I support England and I'm not normally one to criticise but England's bowling tactics has to change and quickly.

  • Patchmaster on July 17, 2014, 21:08 GMT

    Most other international captains (such as Clarke, McCullum etc) would have figured out a way to get rid of the India tail, but Cook isn't a natural captain and doesn't have that 'think on his feet' ability to morph and change things as the game progresses. Time for a change.........

  • bobmartin on July 17, 2014, 20:55 GMT

    How many more mistakes does Prior have to make before the selectors decide that he is past it and has been now for some time. They dropped him in Oz.. due to lack of form... and then.. with no county form worth a pigs burp.. he's suddenly back in the side and repeating the mistakes he was making then... mistakes that England currently can't afford.

  • on July 17, 2014, 20:51 GMT

    Some of the balls that the Indians got were simply unplayable. The pitch has ample bounce , more than enough seam movement. For indian bowlers used to dustbowls this is an ideal situation. Bhuvi, and shami must be salivating at the prospect of having a go at the english batsmen. I'd say its 51-49 in india's favour right now

  • Peterincanada on July 17, 2014, 20:50 GMT

    It is time Prior left. His batting was brutally exposed last winter by Mitchell Johnson and now his keeping is not up to scratch anymore. Being one of the in crowd is no longer enough to keep one's job.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on July 17, 2014, 20:37 GMT

    I agree the game is very much even; but it's still very disappointing to see the same old mistakes and boring tactics from England and hence the squandered opportunities. From a management point of view, the selectors are too shortsighted; failure to have the next frontline spinner ready for when Swann called it quits, and bringing in 'all brawn and no brains' style bowlers like Plunkett epitomises this. From the player's point of view, Cook is still running his so-called strike bowlers into the ground instead of short, sharp spells; confidence in certain players is still low.

  • HenryPorter on July 17, 2014, 20:36 GMT

    We desperately need a dropped-catch statistic in cricket - something akin to the official fielding-error stat in baseball. Text-mineable from Cricinfo commentaries post ~2000? For wicketkeepers it's perhaps the only measure that really matters.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on July 17, 2014, 20:22 GMT

    This is pretty much the same summary over and over and it is not at all Dobell's fault. The shortcomings of England are merely repeated over and over. Prior should be retired from international cricket, Cook's captaincy is no good, Moores plans and coaching are no good, Anderson and Broad spraying the new ball everywhere, failing to capitalise on dominant positions. Just more of the same, what is Dobell supposed to write, it's not his fault.

  • nachiketajoshi on July 17, 2014, 19:56 GMT

    Well said! Though the ball that got Kumar kept low, it was probably an aberration. The pitch seems to be easing out in favor of the batsmen.

  • on July 17, 2014, 19:55 GMT

    The game is only 90 overs old. Beauty of test cricket is that over the next potential 360 overs, England will have more than an even chance to bounce back. I do not expect the pitch to be anywhere near as venomous as it was this morning. And as good as triers the Indian bowlers are, I do not see them bowling England out for a total which gives India a substantial 1st innings lead. The match is still wide open, and very evenly poised!

  • on July 17, 2014, 19:55 GMT

    The game is only 90 overs old. Beauty of test cricket is that over the next potential 360 overs, England will have more than an even chance to bounce back. I do not expect the pitch to be anywhere near as venomous as it was this morning. And as good as triers the Indian bowlers are, I do not see them bowling England out for a total which gives India a substantial 1st innings lead. The match is still wide open, and very evenly poised!

  • nachiketajoshi on July 17, 2014, 19:56 GMT

    Well said! Though the ball that got Kumar kept low, it was probably an aberration. The pitch seems to be easing out in favor of the batsmen.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on July 17, 2014, 20:22 GMT

    This is pretty much the same summary over and over and it is not at all Dobell's fault. The shortcomings of England are merely repeated over and over. Prior should be retired from international cricket, Cook's captaincy is no good, Moores plans and coaching are no good, Anderson and Broad spraying the new ball everywhere, failing to capitalise on dominant positions. Just more of the same, what is Dobell supposed to write, it's not his fault.

  • HenryPorter on July 17, 2014, 20:36 GMT

    We desperately need a dropped-catch statistic in cricket - something akin to the official fielding-error stat in baseball. Text-mineable from Cricinfo commentaries post ~2000? For wicketkeepers it's perhaps the only measure that really matters.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on July 17, 2014, 20:37 GMT

    I agree the game is very much even; but it's still very disappointing to see the same old mistakes and boring tactics from England and hence the squandered opportunities. From a management point of view, the selectors are too shortsighted; failure to have the next frontline spinner ready for when Swann called it quits, and bringing in 'all brawn and no brains' style bowlers like Plunkett epitomises this. From the player's point of view, Cook is still running his so-called strike bowlers into the ground instead of short, sharp spells; confidence in certain players is still low.

  • Peterincanada on July 17, 2014, 20:50 GMT

    It is time Prior left. His batting was brutally exposed last winter by Mitchell Johnson and now his keeping is not up to scratch anymore. Being one of the in crowd is no longer enough to keep one's job.

  • on July 17, 2014, 20:51 GMT

    Some of the balls that the Indians got were simply unplayable. The pitch has ample bounce , more than enough seam movement. For indian bowlers used to dustbowls this is an ideal situation. Bhuvi, and shami must be salivating at the prospect of having a go at the english batsmen. I'd say its 51-49 in india's favour right now

  • bobmartin on July 17, 2014, 20:55 GMT

    How many more mistakes does Prior have to make before the selectors decide that he is past it and has been now for some time. They dropped him in Oz.. due to lack of form... and then.. with no county form worth a pigs burp.. he's suddenly back in the side and repeating the mistakes he was making then... mistakes that England currently can't afford.

  • Patchmaster on July 17, 2014, 21:08 GMT

    Most other international captains (such as Clarke, McCullum etc) would have figured out a way to get rid of the India tail, but Cook isn't a natural captain and doesn't have that 'think on his feet' ability to morph and change things as the game progresses. Time for a change.........

  • knobbler on July 17, 2014, 21:15 GMT

    Couldn't agree more with this artical. While cooks captaincy and lack of runs remains a huge talking point, it's the bowling tactics that worry me. Surely these guys know where to pitch the ball don't they? As a former bowler it's becoming almost impossible to watch England bowl at the moment.....incredibly frustrating. One would assume Mr. Saker is telling them to pitch it up on off stump (let's hope he is anyway.) Sorry for going on but I'm so passionate about this. I support England and I'm not normally one to criticise but England's bowling tactics has to change and quickly.